By Ed Twedt
What a powerful, reassuring passage of scripture is this short chapter in Isaiah. This entire little chapter is a psalm of thanksgiving. Isaiah speaks of salvation in three ways, beginning of course with God. God IS our salvation. God HAS BECOME our salvation, and we are told we will DRAW WATER from the wells of salvation, and we will DRAW IT WITH JOY.
For those of us who have read John’s story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman, here is a reminder that God has living water to give to all who ask. There are also three different references to God in the original Hebrew which send us an important message. In verse two the general Hebrew word EL is used, which speaks of the enormity of God. Later in the same verse, the very personal name for God is used, but with a little poetic twist it uses the short form YAH followed by the full form YAHWEH, almost as if the writer were stuttering over the word. On the contrary, however, this rather unique combination gives even more emphasis to the personal closeness of God to God’s people.
In verse 4, the personal name YAHWEH is used again where we are told to give thanks to YAHWEH. Then in verse 5, we are told to sing praises to YAHWEH. Finally Isaiah closes this beautiful little psalm in verse 6 with his signature use of THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL to tell us that this HOLY ONE dwells in our midst with greatness.
As we celebrate this traditional Christmas Eve, it is such a blessing to be reminded of our God’s closeness to us and God’s undying love for us. We sit poised on the eve of the traditional day when we celebrate the entrance of God Incarnate into our world, YAHWEH, THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, who with greatness came and pitched his tent among us. Let us all give thanks to God and sing God’s praises.